Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Font Size

Flu Pandemic Guide: Stock Up on Basics

Government Urges Americans to Stockpile Food, Water, and Medicines in Case of Outbreak

Opposing View continued...

The plan also calls on people to "talk to their doctor" about obtaining supplies of prescription medications that could be in shortage during a pandemic, a scenario that Osterholm says is "effectively impossible."

Most drug manufacturers keep low inventories of drugs and instead sell them about as quickly as they make them, he says. Also, most private insurance plans don't allow patients to obtain more than a 30-day drug supply for current use.

"You can't go out and buy a 60-day supply and if you did that the inventory would dry up overnight," says Osterholm, who has been encouraging the government and businesses to come up with emergency supply plans for the U.S. economy.

Improving Preparedness

Pearson says the latest call was in direct response to requests for guidance from thousands of individuals and that the guide was part of an overall government effort to boost private and government preparedness.

"It would be incomplete to do one part and not the other," she says.

The guide comes as drug manufacturers continue federally funded early production of a still-experimental H5N1 vaccine. Officials say they plan on eventually producing up to 300 million doses of the vaccine but that such large supplies would take years to produce.

Meantime, the World Health Organization confirmed the deaths of three siblings from bird flu in Turkey. The news made that country the sixth to record human bird flu deaths and the first one outside Southeast Asia.

The disease has caused 145 known infections with about a 50% fatality rate. Scientists say H5N1 has not shown an ability for efficient human-to-human spread, a condition necessary to make the virus a direct pandemic risk.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

hot toddy
15 tips to help you feel better.
man sneezing into elbow
Do echinacea and vitamin C really help a cold?
teen girl coughing
Get a good night’s rest with these remedies.
elder berry
Eat these to fight colds, flu, and more.
Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
cold weather
Allergy And Sinus Symptom Evaluator
Boy holding ear
woman receiving vaccine shot
woman with fever
Waking up from sleep
woman with sore throat